Probation for teen initially charged with murder


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A teen initially charged with two others in the July 2015 shooting death of a 30-year-old man was sentenced Friday for a lesser charge of assisting a criminal.

Vicxon Gray, 18, had faced charges of murder, felony murder and robbery in the July 9, 2015, fatal shooting of Melvin Palmer III during a struggle outside a southeast-side home. Brothers Shakidi and Kamari Underwood were also charged the same.

In December 2015, though, Gray agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors that dropped each of those charges – and the possibility of more than 150 years in prison – in exchange for his guilty plea on a single Level 6 felony charge of assisting a criminal.

Gray was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years of probation, in line with his deal.

Palmer was riding with a friend in the 4000 block of Lillie Street when the car pulled over and, according to charging information filed in Allen Superior Court, Palmer approached Kamari Underwood with money in his hand. Police believe the boy then pulled out a gun.

The two then began to fight and the struggle went to the ground, court documents said. During the fight, two gunshots rang out. At that point, someone emerged from a home and began shooting at Palmer, the charging information said.

Palmer then broke free and ran to the vehicle, and it sped off toward a hospital, court documents said. The car eventually found and cut off an ambulance, and medics found Palmer suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he would later die.

During an investigation, Fort Wayne police found two guns they believe were dropped by the teens. An investigation showed that Palmer was missing some of the cash he had before his encounter with the teenagers, court documents showed.

Gray and Kamari Underwood were quickly arrested; Shakidi Underwood was arrested weeks later outside Atlanta, Georgia.

The brothers Underwood both pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last week. They each face 15 years in prison and three years of probation at a sentencing hearing July 21.

In court Friday, deputy prosecutor Adam Mildred told the court that Palmer’s widow, Latoya Palmer, wanted the court to know she’s a Christian and the only way she heals is to forgive Gray for what he’s done. LaToya Palmer gave her blessing on Gray’s plea agreement.

Gray won’t be released from jail, however. Last week, he was sentenced to three years for a robbery charge filed in February.

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